The current COVID-19 crisis is bringing into sharp relief the vulnerability of agri-food systems and creating new challenges whose repercussions may be felt in the sector for a long time. Among other things, it is showing the limits of our capacity to anticipate shocks and is testing the risk management capacity of all actors active in supply chains, as well as in government, finance, and other sectors. In this context, many agri-SMEs are already suffering significantly from disruptions in supply chains and markets, causing cash flow problems. Many also lack the capital and capacity to undertake the investments that would be required to strengthen their resilience to the enduring crisis and prepare for its likely after-effects.
This is, therefore, an opportune time to take a closer look at the range of tools available in the area of agricultural risk management, and identify those that can be deployed both to address the current crisis, particularly from the agri-SME standpoint, as well as to prepare for its long term repercussions. Such an assessment will also serve to highlight the main gaps or areas where innovative products, delivery mechanisms, or complementary measures are needed. The convergence of interests and experiences of ILO, PARM and SAFIN around these issues provides an opportunity to address them with reference to practical experiences and examples.
Overall, the aim of the Live Talk Series will be to assess the general offering and limitations of the agricultural risk management “toolbox” in light of the ongoing experience with COVID-19, from the perspectives of agri-SMEs and agri-lenders. Furthermore, the series will present practical learnings related to the use of specific tools and the impact achieved by both sets of actors (SMEs and lenders) through a review of case studies.
This first session will provide an introduction into the key areas of focus for the Live Talk series. Starting with an overview of the tools available for agricultural risk management, the session will then turn to a panel of experts for a deeper discussion on the new risks that have been introduced by the crisis, the new challenges they present in relation to the existing “toolbox”, and the response that has been observed thus far from agri-SMEs and other actors in the field.
Arindom Datta has been working for Rabobank for the last 14 years and has over 28 years of experience in Rural Finance, Cooperative, Microfinance and Agribusiness banking. He is responsible for the sustainability banking initiatives on knowledge, risk management and business development. Arindom also oversees the Rabo Foundation projects in blended finance, technology/innovation and access to finance in the agriculture sector. He is further passionate about following the Agtech developments and its significance for smallholder farmers. Arindom previously worked with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, IDBI Bank and CARE.
Azeb Fissha Mekonnen is an agriculture specialist with the World Bank. Her current work focuses on managing agriculture sector dialogue interventions and partnerships on regional agriculture transformation agenda in East and Southern Africa. She has worked for a variety of World Bank operations in agriculture finance and risk management in several countries. Among her contributions, Azeb has led a national agriculture risk management diagnostic study in Zimbabwe advising the government on key reforms needed to building the resilience of the agricultural sector to climatic and macroeconomic shocks. She has also worked with financial institutions in Asia and Africa to improve their agriculture lending capacity.
Claude Torre is an agricultural economist who has been a civil servant for France’s Ministries of Agriculture (1993), Cooperation (1993-1999) and Foreign Affairs (1999-2007) before joining the Agence française de développement (AFD), where he works since 2007. Over these years in the French public administration he has served as a Technical Assistant in Niger (three years) and Guinea (four years); has been in charge of agricultural commodities while headquartered in Paris (three years); and has served as a Cooperation Attaché in Morocco (four years).
As a Project Manager at AFD, Claude Torre has engaged in trade issues (based in Paris, two years) and food security (based in Rome, two years) before joining the agency’s Department of Operations in 2011. He monitors and assesses various rural development and agricultural financing projects in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Agricultural insurance technical lead, INSURED/PARM, IFAD
Ms Emily Coleman has over 14-years’ experience in international development at UN institutions. Currently she is the agricultural insurance technical lead for the Sida-financed INSURED programme, which is overseen by the multi-donor Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM), hosted at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Ms. Coleman’s experience in agricultural insurance spans project management, implementation, research and development, capacity building, and technical assistance across different regions. Her field experience has been focused on Africa and Asia, including Cambodia, China, Rwanda, Senegal, and Zambia. She is an active member of the main global insurance networks, the MicroInsurance Network, and the Global Action Network on Agricultural Insurance. Ms. Coleman has co-authored international publications on agricultural insurance which include a review of global experiences, guidance for governments and donors, and findings on remote sensing for index insurance development. She has been regularly called upon to present at different international fora on the topics and to contribute to global policy dialogue such as to the G8 and G20. Ms. Coleman has designed, coordinated, and provided technical support to a number of donor- and IFAD-funded initiatives on insurance and financial inclusion.
Katell Segalen de Arriaga works for Guatemala’s Federation of Cooperatives of Coffee Producers (FEDECOCAGUA), which has been part of the SAFIN Network since 2017. A French national, she holds an MBA in Agri-business.
In FEDECOCAGUA, Katell Segalen de Arriaga is in charge of managing social projects that support Guatemalan coffee cooperatives’ small producers through the Ulrich Gurtner Kappeler Foundation. These projects promote social development through a range of activities in areas like education and economic development at the household level. Among other actions, these projects have sponsored the construction of new classrooms in local schools and improved wet mills and storage facilities, which has enabled cooperatives themselves to increase coffee productivity and quality.
Massimo Giovanola is the Lead Technical Specialist for the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He is responsible for managing the PARM process in eight African countries. He works to define the appropriate strategies with the host governments and then guides the organization and implementation of technical studies on subjects such as country profiling, risk management and feasibility. He also develops and maintains partnerships with national and international stakeholders and partner organizations.
Giovanola joined IFAD in 2014 from his previous position at Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Between 2000 and 2014, he worked in both emergency and rehabilitation-development programs for Burundi, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan as Country Director and Program Manager with INGO (7 years) and FAO (7 years). His main areas of expertise are country strategy development and program management, agriculture sector, food-security and nutrition.
Giovanola has a master’s in Animal Science from the University of Milan (Veterinary), a diploma in Business Administration from Varese, along with certificates and qualifications from FAO and IFAD in procurement, strategy development, food security and coaching techniques.
Michael von During is the Technical Specialist for the SAFIN Secretariat housed at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome, Italy. A native of Geneva, Switzerland, Michael has developed a career at the intersection of access to finance and agricultural development. His work in the impact investment space covering both fund structuring and pipeline development, combined with his experience at Cargill, have afforded him a deep understanding of the risks faced by companies and investors in the agriculture sector, as well as the tools available to address them.
Pranav Prashad is the Senior Technical Officer at the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Impact Insurance Facility. He provides technical expertise on agriculture insurance, distribution and mobile services as well as use of technology in insurance.
Pranav Prashad has more than three decades of experience in insurance and business management. He has initiated and taken to scale agriculture and health insurance projects amongst low-income households in India, utilizing a diverse set of distribution channels and enabling the projects with technology.
At the Facility, Pranav has supported the successful introduction of weather index insurance products in Sri Lanka and index-related products for livestock in Kenya among other projects. He is also the lead author of the Facility’s paper looking as various ways mobile phone technology can help in building scale and efficiency in insurance operations.
He holds an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies and a bachelor’s honours degree in Economics, both from Delhi University, India.